While attending the BPM Europe Conference 2012, I started by following the seminar by Sandy Kemsley on Social Business Process Management.
She brought up a large set of interesting issues related to Social BPM:
Social BPM dimensions
Dimensions of complexity can be orthogonalized and well managed:
- Structure: how much structured is the process
- Internal Collaboration: how much internal collaboration the process allows
- External Involvement: how many external actors can be involved
This is extremely interesting, as it unfolds the concepts that I was investigating in some of my past posts on social BPM options
and adoption levels
. But here the orthogonalization makes the problem much more crisp and clear.
The span of collaboration can cover different levels:
- Predefined participants
- Selection of participants from a predefined set of enabled ones
- Selection of any participants or participants self-selection
This is also close to the continuum of social BPM, but again focusing on one specific orthogonalized aspect at a time.
Social as a feature or as an application?
The point with Enterprise 2.0 is that several social tools exist now, and the challenge is how to put them together in a productive and coherent way, without irking to build yet another stack of silos, in the socialization domain. There is a huge social enterprise software confusion, and social BPM is part of it.
Socialization, as well as any other enterprise issue, should be tackled as a comprehensive problem at enterprise level. The main challenge is not to reduce this to simply selecting a set of social tools to be used. Social must become an attitude and a lifestyle in the enterprise.
You can get Social process discovery and modeling, and this is covered by several vendors. However, it’s much more interesting to have social process execution. This is covered by vendors such as HandySoft and Fujitsu. Major vendors like IBM are also expanding their features towards Adaptive Case Management (ACM), by covering as much as possible of this within their BPM products.
Process event streams
This is very similar to the Facebook timeline or other customer-oriented event streams. This is also a major user interface change in the enterprise. Events may have a direct link to underlying process models or instance. One can subscribe to a stream by topic or by author or other. Enterprise systems get usable, mobile and quickly accessible.
Producers of these class of products include: Appian Tempo, Tibco Tibbr, IBM Blueworks Live.
Several other ways exist for making BPM social, such as online communities (internal centers of excellence, external communities of practice, marketplaces): this is covered by IBM BlueWorks, Appian, and Software AG Aris. In small, this is also what the WebRatio Store is aiming at in the near future (while now it’s mainly focused on WebML features).
Some producers are offering BPM Software as a service solutions, with cloud deployment(Appian Anywhere, Fujitsu InterstageBPM, Cordys Process Factory and other emerging ones). WebRatio is also moving towards the cloud
, but at the moment the development part is based on the Eclipse-based standalone tool suite.
Organization and Impacts
While the technology is not cutting edge any more, organizational impacts and benefits are still challenging for the enterprise.
Social Business has now an ad-hoc social business maturity model.
|The social BPM maturity gap. Internal: above, orange line. External: below, yellow line.
You have two dimensions:
- internal versus external social business (Y axis)
- business maturity level (X axis)
The current status of most companies is currently in the state “engaged-structured” internally and “structured-managed”externally.
The main challenges are on culture and collaborativeness. Enterprises need to trigger a participatory culture, considering people’s contribution independently of their role, increasing transparency and openness, allowing and empowering employees to deviate from predefined processes.
A nice bottom line for the discussion is that Social BPM means to monitor events and not outcomes of BPM.
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